Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


Terms of Use

© 2023 Emily C. van Assendelft and Jonah D. Ring. This work is freely available courtesy of the author. It may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license. For all other uses, please contact the copyright holder.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Engineering Department

First Advisor

Matthew A. Zucker

Second Advisor

Fiona O'Donnell


This project combines civil and environmental engineering concepts to design, test, and construct a boardwalk in the Crum Woods in order to improve the Crum Woods trail system for the broader Swarthmore community. This project is motivated by a dedication to serve Swarthmore’s community, an appreciation for the Crum Woods trails as cross country runners, and past work experience on conservation crews. The goal is to make the Crum Woods’ trails more sustainable and less susceptible to erosion.

The area of focus for this project is a section of trail that commonly floods and becomes too muddy for use, causing pedestrians to have to walk off trail in order to pass. The solution to this problem is to design and construct a raised boardwalk in order to provide a stable and sustainable walking surface, preventing social trail formation and trail widening. The project involves interaction with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), a local professional engineer, and other government agencies to approve the project for installation and to ensure legal compliance. Designs follow U.S. Forest Service trail construction specifications.

Parallel with the design process, a structural analysis is completed to validate specifications and design choices, ensuring that the final structure is safe for pedestrian loads. Mechanical, civil, and environmental engineering concepts inform our design, as well as skills gained from our personal work experiences. This project is a collaborative effort as well; assistance from the Swarthmore Arboretum and community including Director of Grounds Jeff Jabco and Horticultural Supervisor Lars Rasmussen was invaluable.

Included in

Engineering Commons